Polymerization pattern characterization within a resin-based composite cured using different curing units at two distances



To investigate the relationship of the irradiance-beam-profile areas from six different light-curing units (LCUs) with the degree of conversion (DC), microhardness (KH), and cross-link density (CLD) throughout a resin-based composite (RBC) cured at two clinically relevant distances, and to explore the correlations among them.

Materials and methods

A mapping approach was used to measure DC using micro-Raman spectroscopy, KH using a Knoop indentor on a hardness tester, and %KH reduction after ethanol exposure, as an indicator for CLD within a nano-hybrid RBC increment (n = 3) at various depths. These sample composites were cured from two distances while maintaining the radiant exposure, using six different light-curing units: one quartz-tungsten-halogen; two single and three multiple-emission-peak light-emitting-diode units. Irradiance beam profiles were generated for each LCU at both distances, and localized irradiance values were calculated. Points across each depth were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA. Correlations across multiple specimen locations and associations between beam uniformity corresponding with polymerization measurements were calculated using linear mixed models and Pearson correlation coefficients.


Significant non-uniform polymerization patterns occurred within the specimens at various locations and depths. At 2-mm curing distance, the localized DC = 52.7–76.8%, KH = 39.0–66.7 kg/mm2, and %KH reduction = 26.7–57.9%. At 8-mm curing distance, the localized DC = 50.4–78.6%, KH = 40.3–73.7 kg/mm2, and %KH reduction = 28.2–56.8%. The localized irradiance values were weakly correlated with the corresponding DC, KH, and %KH reduction, with only a few significant correlations (p < 0.05).


Although significant differences were observed at each depth within the specimens, the localized irradiance values for all LCUs did not reflect the polymerization pattern and did not seem to have a major influence on polymerization patterns within the RBC, regardless of the curing distance.

Clinical relevance

Commonly used LCUs do not produce uniform polymerization regardless of the curing distance, which may contribute to the risk of RBC fracture.

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The work is part of the PhD dissertation for Dr. A. O. Al-Zain. The scholarship support from King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and the technical assistance received from UITS/PTI Advanced Visualization Lab at Indiana University are acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Afnan O. Al-Zain.

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Al-Zain, A.O., Eckert, G.J., Lukic, H. et al. Polymerization pattern characterization within a resin-based composite cured using different curing units at two distances. Clin Oral Invest 23, 3995–4010 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-019-02831-1

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  • Degree of conversion
  • Microhardness
  • Cross-link density
  • Resin composite
  • Beam profile
  • Light-curing unit